St. David’s Center started in the basement of a church, and 57 years later its latest facility is on the second floor of a church.
The nonprofit recently opened the Harman Center for Child & Family Wellbeing inside the newly opened addition to Westminster Presbyterian Church on the south end of Nicollet Mall. Named for Scott Harman, an infant mental health leader with the organization who passed away around the time the nonprofit began planning the center, the $4.5 million facility provides a wide array of youth services, treatments and programs in a more accessible location than its other campuses.
“It’s a dream come true to have great services provided in beautiful spaces with so much heart built into it,” said Julie Sjordal, CEO of St. David’s Center.
St. David’s Center, which is non-sectarian, was one of two organizations that submitted proposals to the church back in 2016 to become partners and use part of its new campus. The nonprofit has a 10-year lease on about 10,000 square feet in the building for a mental health therapy team, an occupational and speech therapy clinic, two programs for youth who have faced trauma and a day program for East African children with autism.
St. David’s Center worked with the church’s architect so Sjordal said they knew the center would fit well. She said the lease is at a “deep discount” compared to other downtown spaces.
“It’s been generous at every turn,” she said.
Minnetonka-based St. David’s Center employs about 700–800 staff who serve 3,300 kids and families each year. Sjordal said about 90 percent of their work is done in Hennepin County and most of their clients call Minneapolis home.
St. David’s Center raised $4.5 million to open the Harman Center, with $2.5 million going toward the buildout and $2 million supporting operating expenses over time. Sjordal said programs began in the center in March and its already at 60 percent capacity, which the organization estimates at about 265 kids ages 5 and up. About 30 full-time staff will work out of the Harman Center.
Sjordal said the facility’s central location will make it easier for their clients to access their programs.
“We really wanted a place for those families that are most at risk,” she said.